X Factor judge Cheryl Cole’s controversial decision not to vote when two of her acts – TreyC Cohen and Katie Waissel – were up against each other facing the axe was rehearsed, the show’s host revealed.

Dermot O’Leary, who hosts the ITV talent show, exposed the episode as nothing more than a charade, after revealing that the producers had rehearsed the no-vote in an ad break, the Daily Mail reported.

Millions of viewers were tuned in as Cole dithered over which of her two protoges to choose, before refusing to vote at all.

Cohen was axed in the end after the other judges voted her off two-to-one.

However, O’Leary has revealed that during the commercial break, the X Factor producers roped both he and Cheryl into performing a dramatic stand-off.

“We thought it might happen before the break when we found out who was in the bottom two,” O’Leary told the Daily Mail.

“We decided that if she wasn’t going to vote, we would go to the majority verdict.”

The rules of the show stipulate that all four judges must vote to decide which contestant is saved.

During the programme, when it came time for Cole to vote, she and O’Leary had an ‘argument’ over what to do as she told him: “I’m not sending either of them home, Dermot.”

He replied, “you’re refusing to vote?” to which she reponded, ‘I’m refusing point blank’, adding: “I don’t have to send anybody home.”.

TV sources confirmed that Cohen had received three times as many votes as Waissel in the preceding public vote, meaning that if Cole had voted for Cohen, the vote would have gone into a 2-2 deadlock where the contestant with the lowest public vote is ousted. So, Waissel would have gone home.

ITV has received more than 1000 complants and TV watchdog, Ofcom, has had more than 2000 complaints as calls are now growing for Cole to be sacked from her £1.7m job.